Senate Office to Host Health Fair for Well-Covered Staffers

As millions of hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet, Senate staffers will participate next week in a two-day orgy of back massages, organic food tastings and milk mustache photos.

It's all part of a health fair for the staffers, who enjoy some of the best health care in the country.

Not only will they get health screenings, they'll also find out if their iPods are too loud.

Neither the Senate's Education and Training Office nor the Senate sergeant-at-arms, which oversees the office, would say which vendors are providing the services or how much the health fair will cost taxpayers.

But there will be no shortage of vendors providing screenings for visual acuity, chiropractic health, bone density, glaucoma, PSA levels, cholesterol levels and hearing.

The Senate staffers also will be treated to seated massages, herbal teas, polarity therapy, low-fat cheese samples and organic foods. A pharmacist and health coach will be available to speak to fairgoers about their medications, nutrition and healthy lifestyle questions.

Fairgoers can test themselves with brain games and bring their MP3 players to be tested for decibel levels.

The fair, to be held on Thursday and Friday, is not uncommon among federal agencies, a senior Senate aide told Fairs of this sort are held every year.

An aide in the sergeant-at-arms office told in an e-mail that the fair is open to all Senate staff, and there is no fee to attend. The costs to the office, the aide said, are "minimum."

But based on their available health care benefits, Senate staffers don't appear to be in dire need of a health fair.

While the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) offers different types of plans, including PPOs , HMOs and high deductible plans, all include certain benefits such as hospital care, surgical care, inpatient and outpatient care, mental health coverage, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage.

Senate staffers enrolled in the program don't have waiting periods or coverage limitations on pre-existing conditions.